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Should ranking be confined to journals in TS?

Preliminary ideas for a book publisher ranking system

D. Gile - EST

September 3, 2008

 

In another text in this web page, initial suggestions were made for journal ranking, not with A, B or C categories, but by annual ranking in terms of number of citing authors (Citing Authors Index) and of citing countries (Citing Countries Index).

            However, in TS as in many disciplines in the human sciences, most-often cited publications are books or papers in collective volumes, not papers published in journals. In the text on journal ranking, the method suggested was illustrated by an analysis of citations in one paper by Yi-yi Claire Shih in Target 18:2. Out of a total of 18 citations, only 5 (less than 30%) were from journals. This is rather typical of proportions I find in my investigations of citation patterns in TS. Does it make sense to assess a scholar’s ‘performance’ (I would hesitate to correlate strongly the number of publications or citations with research quality) on the sole basis of publications in journals if they represent such a small proportion of the citations? Should one not take on board citations in books as well?

            One way to do that, similar to the method proposed for ranking journals, would be to rank publishing houses which published a cited scholar’s work, either as a monograph or edited (or co-edited) volume or as a paper in a collective volume. For instance, for 2006, in Target 18:2, in Claire Yi-yi Shih’s paper “Revision from translators’ point of view: An interview study”, the following information can be found from the list of references:

 

Year

Citing journal

Issue

Citing Author

Country of affiliation o f citing author

Publisher of cited work

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

Academic Press

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

Benjamins

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

Erlbaum

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

Aslib

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

University of Joensuu

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

StJerome

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

Multilingual Matters

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

Sage

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

State Univ. of NY Binghamton

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

Benjamins

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

Linguatech

2006

Target

18:2

Shih, Yi-yi Claire

United Kingdom

University of Chicago Press

 

This citing paper thus provides one Citing Author Index point (CAI) and one Citing Country Index point (CCI) for 2006 to: Academic Press, Aslib, Benjamins, Erlbaum, Linguatech, Sage, State University of New York Binghamton, StJerome, University of Chicago Press, University of Joensuu (just one point for Benjamins, though it is cited twice – the principle being one point per citing author). An academic seeking promotion could say that s/he X papers in journals ranked among the top 5 or top 10 in terms of CAI and CCI, as well as Y books and papers in publications by publishers ranked among the top 5 or top 10 in terms of CAI and CCI.

 

As was stressed in the text on journal ranking, reading through the lists of references in citing papers and extracting the information is very fast, and considering that each journal has between one and four issues a year, establishing the ranking through a relatively large sample of citing journals (perhaps up to 50 or so) should not be too formidable a task, especially if the work is shared.

 

One could challenge the idea of taking only papers in journals as citing material - why not scrutinize lists of references in books as well?

This initial proposal is limited to journals because it will probably be possible to include most journals in the field, whereas this does not seem feasible with books, both because of their sheer number and because of the length of their lists of references. Scrutinizing lists of references of individual papers in collective volumes is possible, but it will probably be easier to find motivation for cooperation among editors of journals than among publishers of collective volumes. When the system takes off, it would be desirable to check with samples whether ratings are similar if references from books are used. If not, the method will have to be changed.

 

Again, the main question is whether colleagues in various universities and journal editors are interested enough in such a ranking system to devote some effort to this work for the benefit of young colleagues who need it for their academic career. If so, a specific body could be established, perhaps under EST, to try to improve the concept as presented here, start working on the coordination procedure (the work should be shared between a number of centres and the information will have to be coordinated and put together before it is made available to the community), and produce some results rapidly. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

 

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